While Belgium is famed for its stronger ales, it also has a heritage of lighter one.  Given its reputation for inventiveness, more varieties may well emerge. 

See also: Witbier, Saison Légère, Grisette

Spéciale (Speciaal or Belgian Pale Ale)

The beer café Oud Arsenaal in Antwerp, Belgium is a cozy place for enjoying a glass or two of Spéciale (photo: André Brunnsberg)

A soft, gentle form of pale ale (4.8-5.5% ABV) in which hopping is typically low and spicing is absent, lacking the Belgian tendency to challenge while retaining the principle of balance.  Its origins are obscure but it was boosted in the early 1900s – some brands using the date 1900 in their names. 

> The beer styles of Europe and beyond > SESSION STRENGTH ALES > BELGIAN SESSION ALES

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